ANOTHER LONG MEETING ANTICIPATED
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
the Costa Mesa City Council will hold its next regularly scheduled
meeting beginning at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City
Hall. The meeting will be preceded by a Closed Session starting
at 5:00 p.m.
Ahead in this edition you'll read about, not necessarily in order:
- The potential
approval of the Fiscal Year 2012/2013 Municipal Budget
- The potential
resolution by the City Council about the proposed I-405
- The extension of
the helicopter services Memorandum of Understanding with
Huntington Beach for 3 more years
- The legal bills
keep on stacking up
- The RFP for
Facilities Maintenance to be modified and re-issued
- A contract with
five (5) separate companies to provide building safety and
fire prevention plan review and inspection services
- The renewed Measure
M (M2) Eligibility
- Public hearings on
- The re-naming of
the Redevelopment and Residential Rehabilitation (3R)
- The possible
termination of the annual independent financial audit services
with Mayer, Hoffman, McCann, P.C.
- RFPs for Graphic
Design Services and Reprographics
Right off the bat, the Consent Calendar is chock full of items that
are ripe for picking. Council members or residents can pull any
item for separate discussion and vote.
- Among those of special interest might be Warrant #2424, HERE,
which includes a payment to Jones and Mayer of more than $112,000 for legal services.
- An agreement, HERE, with five companies to
provide building safety and fire prevention plan review and
inspection services for more than $500,000.
- Extension for 3 years of the Memorandum of Understanding with
the City of Huntington Beach for helicopter services, not to
exceed $300,000 annually, HERE. We paid that
city just under $24,000 for those services for April, 2012 based
on the warrants attached to the staff report.
- Measure M (M2) Renewal and 7-year Capital Improvement Plan, HERE
There are five (5) Public Hearings on the agenda Tuesday, although
#1, a helipad on a roof near John Wayne Airport, has apparently
subsequently been withdrawn.
Items 2, 3 and 4 deal with Federal Community Development Block Grant
(CDBG) and Home Investment Partnership Program (HOME) funding.
, the 2012/2013 CDBG Public Service Grant
, informs us that there
has been a reduction in funds available for this program of more
than 15%, so this year we will have only $157,502 available to
distribute to those organizations who apply. A review of the
proposed grant recommendations by the 3R Committee, HERE
provide an interesting picture for your consideration. EVERY
organization will receive less than they requested and less than the
current year's allocation with two exceptions. Mercy House -
Homeless Prevention (Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer
is on the
board of this organization) will receive $19,002 - double the
allocation for the current year and less than half what they
requested even though they were among the lowest ranked by the 3R
Committee. The City of Costa Mesa HCD - Homeless Outreach will
receive $35,000 - the full amount requested.
, Funding Priorities for the CDBG and HOME
, is an interesting story. Basically,
the program has been gutted of staff as you can clearly read in the
staff report. I won't go over them - you can read about them if you
wish - but another big part of this item is the staff recommendation
to completely reconfigure the 3R committee and make it an ad hoc
committee instead of a standing committee. This is very big deal
because that committee has arguably been the most powerful committee
in the city in recent years. The city will have $1,344,664 in CDBG
funds and $461,320 in HOME funds to use in FY 2012/2013.
Item #4, Approval of an amendment to the 2011/2012 Action Plan
is a discussion and possible resolution on the use of the funds
is the 2012/2013 Municipal Budget
. This one may take you some time to digest,
especially when the staff report jumps right in with the elimination
of four (4) positions as the preamble to the remainder of the
discussion. In fact, the four individuals who occupied those jobs
until last Thursday, when they were unceremoniously shown the door
at City Hall, are officially on paid leave until the budget passes.
At that point they will be given 30 day notice of their jobs being
eliminated and will be off the payroll at the end of a month. And,
the choices of individual positions to be eliminated is curious, to
say the least. For example, at the busiest time of any year for the
City Clerk's office - the run-up to and through a municipal election
- somebody decided to dump an Office Specialist II slot. And this
happens when the City Clerk is on paid administrative leave while a
"clerical error" is being investigated and a temporary, Interim City
Clerk has been hired.
I.T. MANAGER GONE!
Even stranger is the elimination of the Information Technology
Manager position. That organization, which has been burdened with
an antiquated system for years, is apparently scheduled for
multi-million dollar upgrades to everything - every computer, wire,
connection, etc. soon. One would think that the IT Manager would be
our de facto Project Manager on this kind of a undertaking. Bobby
, Director of Finance and Information Technology has a
platter that is already overflowing, so he can't take on that job.
What I expect to see is another consultant hired to ramrod this
project - sound familiar? - leaving NO CITY EMPLOYEE
TWO DEVELOPMENT SERVICES STAFFERS, TOO
The other two sliced positions are in the Building Division of the
Development Services Department, where two Office Specialists were
axed on the assumption that the addition of two new Code Enforcement
Officers will pick up the slack - even though one of them will be
assigned full time to the Police Department. Funny, we're
ramping-up a huge effort to attract businesses to our city and to
encourage folks to buy and upgrade their homes yet we slice two
persons with very significant experience and institutional knowledge
from the very staff that would be needed to provide services to that
effort. Will somebody explain that to me, please?
MORE THAN 15% INCREASE - CAPITAL SPENDING DOUBLED!
Back to the budget. This year the "conservative" council is
proposing a $132,676,130 All Funds budget - up 15.45%!
General Fund budget is proposed for $101,119,710, up "only" 6.84%.
The Capital Budget - roads, streets, parks and other infrastructure
- is $20,796,936, a whopping 98.17% increase!
THIS IS "CONSERVATIVE"?
In the General Fund budget we actually have a $55,225 surplus, but in
the All Funds budget - the whole enchilada - we must use almost $8
million in Fund Balances
to make the numbers work. Does this
sound "conservative" to you? Of course not! No, these guys have
gutted the staff, refused to permit filling of vacancies in public
safety areas (Even though Chief Tom Gazsi
has taken the
initiative to begin a three-pronged recruitment effort for police officers because of the
long lead time necessary to fill those jobs) and still nearly double the
Capital budget! Read Attachment A from the budget proposal HERE.
A GUTTED STAFF
As of last week the actually city head count was hovering just below
430 individuals. This is down from a high of 611 before the economy
kicked us and everyone else in the teeth beginning in 2008.
Virtually every department in our city government has realized very
significant staff cuts - except one. That would be the CEO's
office, which has increased the headcount by more than 50%. Note
Jennifer Muir's recent commentary on that subject HERE
UPSIDE DOWN PRIORITIES
It's clear to me that this council, with the actions they have and
are taking, have absolutely no idea what "service to the public" is
all about. They are gutting the staff and building an upside-down
pyramid, with large numbers of managers at the top and very few
workers at the bottom. Eighteen months ago, when Righeimer and his
crew first initiated their "outsourcing plan" I joked that their
idea of a perfect city staff would be Tom Hatch
and a half dozen
contract administrators to manage the outsourced operations. Well,
that was funny at the time... not so funny now.
Under Old Business on the agenda the first item is the discussion of
councilman Steve Mensinge
r's demand that the City divorce itself
from the audit firm of Mayer, Hoffman, McCann, P.C.
, whom we just
hired to perform those services for us, because of their role in the
City of Bell debacle. The staff is recommending that we NOT
terminate the contract and the staff report, HERE
, provides the
reasoning behind it. This should make for an interesting
I-405 IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
Item #2 under New Business is a discussion of a resolution by the City Council to
support Alternatives 1 and 2 and opposing #3 in the I-405
. It is anticipated that
there will be a LARGE
crowd on hand to hear this item, and
there is some thought that it might be moved forward on the agenda
for that reason, so I suggest you arrive early if you expect to have
a seat. It has become apparent to me as I attended two of the four
community meetings on this subject conducted by the Orange County
Transportation Authority (OCTA
) and Cal Trans that they seem locked into
Alternative #3, the one that establishes a High Occupancy Toll (HOT)
lane for the 14 mile length of the project. The only reason I can
see for doing that is to generate revenue. Some folks in town
suspect those revenues might be used to help pay down the debt for
other toll roads in the county - like the 73 Toll Road, for
example. I've also heard a few minutes ago that the period for
public review on this issue has been extended until July 17, 2012
and that OCTA Regional Planning and Highways Committee will consider
a locally preferred alternative on August 6th and the item goes to the
full board on August 13th. You'll find this essay from the Orange Juice Blog by Major Quimby of interest on this subject, HERE
He tells us we, the people, are entitled to vote again on this issue
because a toll road was not anticipated in the Measure M 2 dialogue.
Item #2 is the RFP for Graphic Design Services
The City is going to try to figure a way to immediately implement this
proposal because, except for the retirement of an individual, other
staff reductions are anticipated under this contract. It should be
interesting to hear what the Costa Mesa City Employees Association has
to say about this.
Item #3 is the RFP for Reprographics
The proposal is from the Orange County Publishing Services - a
government entity. As a result, the City plans to immediately implement
this contract, close the print shop and eliminate the Offset Press
Operator position when the incumbent retires soon.
ANOTHER LONG NIGHT AHEAD
It's going to be a full evening tomorrow... I'll be very surprised if we
get out of City Hall before midnight. And, as I've said many times
before, these guys don't make good decisions after midnight.
Labels: Budget Woes, CDBG, I-405, Jim Righeimer, outsourcing